Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux History page.
Three years ago (December 24, 1998 LWN): people were wondering about what IBM was going to do...
But what's really held IBM back from an official support alliance with Red Hat, say sources close to the company, are legal issues. If IBM supports Linux the way it supports other operating systems, it will need to tweak the operating system itself, and that could raise liability questions neither IBM nor its many partners want to deal with.
ZDNet ran a Top Tech Newsmaker poll. Linus Torvalds came in second, having been beaten, 2-to-1, by Jenni of the JenniCam.
After resisting for some time, Red Hat quietly dropped a set of KDE RPMs into its "Rawhide" distribution. Red Hat also put an end to its practice of dropping updates into second and subsequent pressings of its CDs. Until then, one Red Hat 5.0 CD could be visibly identical to another, but have a different set of packages.
GNOME 0.99.0 was released.
Nineteen ninety-eight was the year Linux came into its own. Beloved of techies worldwide, passed by hand from geek to geek, Linux has gained an international cult following of around 7 million. Torvalds was on the cover of Forbes magazine; Linux software publishers such as Red Hat and Caldera are doing booming business; and Los Alamos researchers created a Linux-based supercomputer. The importance of the Linux movement's technical innovations is matched by that of its ideological commitment to making software free and open to everyone, and these two aspects are inextricably linked: Because Linux costs nothing and can be read by anyone, hackers everywhere can work together to make Linux better. It won't make them rich, but it might make them happy.
Those looking for some amusement might want to look at LWN's 1998 year-end summary and compare it to this year's...
Two years ago (December 23, 1999 LWN): Eric Raymond announced his forthcoming book, The Art of Unix Programming. The book was to document what makes the Unix tradition special, and was to be written with a great deal of help from the community. It is still a work in progress and the community is still invited to participate. It currently it is available through Chapter 4.
People wondered about the 2.4 kernel...
Colin Tenwick, vice president and general manager European operations for Red Hat, confirmed that the kernel would be released formally to the Linux community the same time as Windows 2000.
Needless to say, things didn't happen that way. In an attempt to get a guess at when the release would happen, Tummy.com announced its When's 2.4 pool. Bill Wendling, Master Software Project Estimater, won the pool. On January 26, 1999 he guessed the release would be Jan 6, 2001. The pool for the 2.6 kernel is open now.
Richard Stallman called for a boycott of Amazon.com as a result of Amazon's use of software patents.
Linux-Mandrake 7.0 beta was released, as was Mozilla M12.
Corel's Linux distribution was due to hit the shelves any day. Meanwhile, the company foreshadowed the general decline in Linux stocks by dropping down into the low teens from its high of $43. Of course, the low teens would look pretty good to Corel investors these days...
Red Hat, instead, announced a two-for-one stock split.
Even if Linux does turn out to be the greatest thing since the graphical user interface, I sincerely doubt that people buying shares of VA Linux (or any of the Linux companies) at their current valuations will do anything but lose sleep and/or money.
One year ago (December 21, 2000 LWN): British Telecom attempted to enforce its patent on hypertext links by going after Prodigy. In an "Open Letter to Mr. Charles J. Roesslein, CEO, Prodigy" Don Marti wrote:
When clueless companies start throwing "intellectual property" claims around to suppress competitors or to extract money from innovators who have left them in the dust, that's a threat to our economy and, when they attack free communication protocols, it's a threat to our freedom. In the long run, I hope that this case will make you as dedicated a software patent reform advocate as I am. But for now, don't give the bastards an inch and you'll get all the help you need.
The BT/Prodigy case will go to trial early in 2002.
There were rumors that Corel might sell its Linux business.
The dollar value of the deal was not known. But one source said Corel would receive $5 million in cash for its Linux arm and retain 20 percent rights to the new [Linux Global Partners] LGP-owned Linux company.
The real deal was still eight months away, but it involve LGP.
You people just don't get it, do you? All Linux applications run on Solaris, which is our implementation of Linux.
Maybe it just depends on your definition of Linux.
In this State of the Woody message from Debian developer Anthony Towns wrote:
It's been roughly four months since potato got released, which means woody's been in existance for eleven months, and that we probably want to think about freezing and releasing it in a few more months.
Depending on how you define "a few", Woody could be considered right on track.
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.
December 20, 2001